USPS Worker Saves Elderly Woman’s Life After Noticing She Hadn’t Picked Her Mail Up For 3 Days

by : Hannah Smith on : 01 Feb 2021 13:42
USPS Worker Saves Elderly Woman's Life After Noticing She Hadn't Picked Her Mail Up For 3 DaysShonda Lemon / Mary Mason

A United States Postal Service mail carrier has been praised for saving the life of an elderly woman after noticing she hadn’t picked up her mail.

Shonda Lemon, who has been delivering mail along her Chicago neighbourhood route for four years, became concerned after realising that Helen Iwanski, 89, had not picked up any of her mail in three days, and decided to call the police to perform a welfare check on the elderly lady.


When they arrived, the police found Iwanski lying injured on the floor, having had a fall several days earlier. Unable to get up, Iwanski couldn’t call for help, and was only found in time thanks to Lemon’s actions.

USPS Shonda LemonNBC Chicago

Lemon said that although they didn’t speak much, the two had a sweet relationship, with Lemon wrapping Iwanski’s mail in rubber bands to help her hold onto it more easily, and Iwanski leaving sweets taped to her outgoing mail for her mail carrier to find. She told CNN: ‘I’ve always had a soft spot for the elderly. So, when I do come across elders, they just take a special place in my heart… I just knew her to be a nice and considerate old lady, so when she would come to the door, I would check on her.’

After calling the police, Lemon had to continue along her mail route, and says that she broke down in tears when a police officer called to confirm Iwanski was alive. ‘I was very relieved because my heart was in my throat,’ she said, adding ‘I was just so overwhelmed that I just cried’.

Shonda Lemon and Mary MasonNBC Chicago

Thankfully, Iwanski made a recovery after a week-long stay in a local hospital, and is now recuperating in a rehabilitation centre. The 89-year old’s niece, Mary Mason, revealed that Iwanski now refers to Lemon as her ‘angel,’ and said her family believes Lemon almost certainly saved her life. ‘I don’t think she would have lasted,’ she said, ‘I don’t think it would’ve been a good outcome’.

In a statement, the US Postal Service said:

Postal Service employees know the habits of their customers and the rhythms of their communities, and are often the first to notify emergency personnel and render aid when something is wrong…


It added: ‘Employees have been commended for going above and beyond the call of duty in a variety of situations, such as assisting lost children, getting help for sick or injured customers, spotting fires, and more. It’s another example of the heroic actions taken by an employee in the neighbourhood they serve.’

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Topics: Life, Chicago, elderly


  1. CNN

    An elderly woman fell and couldn't call for help. Her USPS mail carrier saved her life